Canadian Crudes Tumble as Refinery Maintenance Reduces Demand

Canadian crudes declined on the spot market as refinery maintenance in Canada and the U.S. Midwest reduced demand.

Western Canadian Select, a blend of heavy oil-sands bitumen, weakened by 65 cents to a $25 discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil, according to Calgary oil broker Net Energy Inc.

WCS has been trending lower since reaching $9.25 below WTI June 12 amid supply disruptions in Alberta. The discount increased to $25.75 on Sept. 4, the widest in six months.

Maintenance at upgraders and refineries in Alberta and the Midwest may reduce demand. Plants shutting units for work include BP Plc’s Whiting, Indiana and Toledo, Ohio refineries.

Whiting shut a 66,000-barrel-a-day reformer unit for planned maintenance, and the 160,000-barrel Toledo refinery brought down a coker, a person familiar with the matter said, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.

Suncor Energy Inc. said Aug. 1 that it’s planning four to five weeks of maintenance on the 110,000-barrel-a-day Unit 2 at the Fort McMurray upgrader.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said last week on a community hot line that it shut its Scotford refinery, which can process 97,870 barrels a day, for scheduled work.

Husky Energy Inc. is shutting the 82,000-barrel-a-day Lloydminster upgrader, which processes heavy crude into lighter grades, for 45 days starting in early September, executives said on an earnings call last month.

Northern Tier Energy LP’s 74,000-barrel-a-day St. Paul Park refinery in Minnesota plans to halt a fluid catalytic cracker during October, the company said during its earnings conference call in August.

Syncrude, a Canadian light crude processed from oil-sands bitumen, weakened by 15 cents to a $1.35-a-barrel discount to WTI, Net Energy said.

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